Czech Republic

Czech Republic heads for centre-right coalition

Reuters
5 min

Three centre-right parties have begun talks to form a coalition after this weekend’s general election in the Czech Republic. New parties gained ground from the two mainstream parties that have dominated since 1996, the left-wing Social Democrats and right-wing Civic Democrats. A right-leaning coalition will have a 118-seat majority in the 200-seat parliament.

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The Social Democrats won with 22.1 per cent, down from 32.3 per cent in the
2006 vote, while the Civic Democrats got 20.2 per cent, down from 35.4 per cent four years ago. The newly-formed centrist Public Affairs Party got 10.9 per cent and the right-leaning TOP 09, scored 16.7 per cent.

Correspondent Ian Willoughby, Prague

But although the Social Democrats got the highest number of votes, the two new parties are likely to form a government with the Civic Democrats.

“There’s been a collapse of the left here,” said correspondent Ian Willoughby. ”The Czech public has chosen right, although spreading those vote over three parties.”

He said a year of political uncertainty since the government collapsed last year may be drawing to a close.

“The Czech political scene has been in a sense in limbo since the last election when the parliament was split exactly 50-50 between left and right and there was a stalemate,” he said. “That ultimately resulted in a weak government being forced out last year.”

He added that the public is tired of the two parties that have dominated for the last 15 years. TOP 09 preaches austerity, and Public Affairs’ policies are not yet well known.

Social Democrat Chairman Jiri Paroubek announced he would resign in seven to ten days.

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